FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!

Dynamic Plaques - FVT Plaques
FVT Plaques is introducing new dynamic plaques to recognize police and sheriff's...

Security Policy and the Cloud

Ask The Expert

Mark Rivera

FBI-CJIS Security Policy Compliance Officer

Mark Rivera, Customer Retention Manager and CJIS Security Compliance Officer with Vigilant Solutions, served for sixteen years with the Maryland State Police, retiring at the rank of First Sergeant with thirteen of those years at the supervisory and command level. He holds a Master of Science Degree in Management from The Johns Hopkins University and Secret clearance through the FBI, Baltimore.

Departments : First Look

5.11 Tactical: Rethinking the Duty Belt

The Sierra Bravo Duty Belt features a proprietary closure system that allows officers to attach more keepers and increase inner and outer belt stability.

June 13, 2014  |  by - Also by this author

Photo: 5.11 Tactical
Photo: 5.11 Tactical

Very few people spend much time thinking about the design and engineering of something as common as a belt. As long as a belt holds up a person's pants or in the case of law enforcement officers holds necessary gear, most of us pretty much don't give it a second thought.

But that's not true of the design team at 5.11 Tactical. For a couple of years now, they have been thinking about how to make a belt better, specifically a law enforcement duty belt.

Joel Alarcon, 5.11's strategic business unit director for footwear and nylon, says development of the company's new Sierra Bravo Duty Belt was spurred by a request from an overseas law enforcement agency for a nylon duty belt that was lighter than comparable models and innovative.

Which is a tall order. And it was made even more difficult by the client's request that the belt be inexpensive.

One of the greatest problems that 5.11 experienced in meeting this demand was determining what could be made innovative about a duty belt. "The look and feel of a duty belt is pretty well defined," Alarcon says.

Given the limitations of what could be improved on a duty belt and still meet muster with law enforcement commanders for a uniform look, 5.11 decided to focus on the buckle. Specifically, the goal was to make the buckle smaller and give officers—especially officers with waist sizes 30 to 34—more available space on their duty belts.

The new 5.11 Sierra Bravo Duty Belt features the company's Slide Lock buckle. The patent pending Slide Lock is narrower than a standard duty belt buckle. "Our Slide Lock buckle is about 1.75 inches wide and typically some of our competitors have buckles that are 2.5 to 3 inches wide," Alarcon says.

The advantage to a slimmer buckle is that it allows officers to use more keepers. "Smaller waisted officers can use three or four keepers with the Sierra Bravo Duty Belt vs. one or two with a traditional belt," Alarcon says. "Having those extra keepers gives the officer a more secure connection between the inner and outer belt, which gives them better mobility and agility. Historically, these officers had a problem with the outer belt wanting to detach from the inner belt."

Smaller size is not the only aspect of the Slide Lock buckle that makes it innovative. "The Slide Lock provides both great security and simple detaching," Alarcon says. "It has one single point of release vs. three points of release like most duty belt buckles."

The Sierra Bravo Duty Belt is constructed of 1680-denier ballistic nylon, which is backed with two layers of webbing for rigidity and a coating for moisture protection. It is available now at a list price of $54.99.

Alarcon says 5.11 is planning to expand the Sierra Bravo line beyond the nylon duty belt. "This is really our first foray into the duty belt arena, and the reaction so far tells us that officers will request other iterations. So we are exploring the idea of producing the belt in different versions, including leather, patent, and basket weave," he adds.

Request more info about this product / service / company

Comments (5)

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5

Richard Hightower @ 6/16/2014 6:20 AM

I don't know about other officers, but I'm not what you'd call "small waisted" and I've always used at least four keepers. Often I've used more. While I've never used a nylon duty belt it does sound like there may be some significant comfort benifits. However, I do wonder about how well it would wear day-in and day-out.

gear911 @ 6/23/2014 11:12 AM

It’s true that there is hardly anything creative that comes into mind when we think of a seat belt. This design, however, is very much unique in terms of everything from texture and color to functioning! The buckle looks compact and simple

gear911 @ 6/23/2014 11:13 AM

It’s true that there is hardly anything creative that comes into mind when we think of a seat belt. This design, however, is very much unique in terms of everything from texture and color to functioning! The buckle looks compact and simple

Ron Derby @ 7/14/2014 1:52 PM

Um... great? You say available now, but don't say where to buy? No link to a website or anything? Was this a print article that got badly translated to your website or something? Appreciate the help.

editor @ 7/14/2014 2:41 PM

Ron: The link to 5.11 Tactical is in the article. You can buy the belt here.

Join the Discussion

POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent Stories

Police Product Test: AE Light AEX35/50 HID Searchlight
This is a searchlight. It is designed to blast a wide beacon of daylight over a very long...
Police Product Test: Dickies Men's Stretch Ripstop Tactical Pants
Dickies' Ripstop Tactical Pants retain the rugged functionality that has made Dickies...
2016 Police Eyewear
New police eyewear for 2016 will shield your eyes from the sun and more when you're on or...
Give Me an Unlisted Number, Please
Any officer who is on social media should know it makes us too easy to find. So here are a...
You Can’t Lead from Behind
President Obama needs to get out from behind the podium and talk to officers and the...

Get Your FREE Trial Issue and Win a Gift! Subscribe Today!
Yes! Please rush me my FREE TRIAL ISSUE of POLICE magazine and FREE Officer Survival Guide with tips and tactics to help me safely get out of 10 different situations.

Just fill in the form to the right and click the button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.

If POLICE does not satisfy you, just write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. You'll pay nothing, and the FREE issue is yours to keep. If you enjoy POLICE, pay only $25 for a full one-year subscription (12 issues in all). Enjoy a savings of nearly 60% off the cover price!

Offer valid in US only. Outside U.S., click here.
It's easy! Just fill in the form below and click the red button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.
First Name:
Last Name:
Zip Code:
We respect your privacy. Please let us know if the address provided is your home, as your RANK / AGENCY will not be included on the mailing label.
E-mail Address:

Police Magazine